PAM Health to construct rehab hospital near Tampa

Enola-based PAM Health plans to build a 42-bed inpatient rehabilitation hospital in Wesley Chapel, Florida, it announced this week.

North of Tampa, Wesley Chapel is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation. Construction on the 60,000-square-foot, two-story hospital will begin early this year. The hospital will start serving patients in early 2024 and employ approximately 120 when completed.

PAM Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Wesley Chapel will offer inpatient and outpatient care and feature a medical team focused on increasing patient strength and endurance and improving quality of life for patients who have experienced stroke, brain injury, neurological disease and deficits, amputations, pulmonary disease, orthopedic conditions, spinal cord injury and medically complex conditions.

The company also operates PAM Health Specialty Hospital of Sarasota and PAM Health Specialty Hospital of Jacksonville, long-term acute care hospitals serving critically ill patients with complex medical conditions. In addition, PAM Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Tavares will open in this month, and PAM Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Jupiter will open in the spring.

“We continue to expand our services throughout Florida as we identify the need for the type of high-quality, patient-focused care that PAM Health is known for,” Anthony Misitano, founder, chairman and CEO of PAM Health said in a release. “… We look forward to offering a new level of rehabilitation care to patients in the greater Tampa region with our goal always being to help them achieve optimal outcomes.”

PAM Health provides specialty health care services through more than 70 long-term acute care hospitals and physical medicine and rehabilitation hospitals, as well as wound clinics and outpatient physical therapy locations, in 17 states.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Four Diamonds funds new cancer innovation center

Dr. Chandrika Gowda, left, collaborates with Dr. Sinisa Dovat on research at Penn State College of Medicine, in this photo taken prior to the pandemic. PHOTO PROVIDED

Penn State Health Children’s Hospital and Penn State College of Medicine, in Hershey, have approved creation of the Four Diamonds Center for Childhood Cancer Innovation, an expansion of Four Diamonds’ work to cure pediatric cancers.

Part of a multi-year strategic plan, the virtual center commits to use $24 million, through the Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, from fundraising efforts by Four Diamonds, including Penn State’s THON.

The center fits with Four Diamonds’ mission to provide comprehensive support to children and their families, including paying for 100% of medical expenses related to cancer care not covered by insurance for eligible Four Diamonds children, while expanding clinical research.

A release explained that the center will build upon the work of Four Diamonds in patient care; collaborative opportunities between the Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology and the Penn State Cancer Institute; and competitive research grants.

In the patient care area, the center will strive to more precisely identify cancers and develop more personalized treatments that lead to better cure rates and survivorship.

Dr. Yatin Vyas, a pediatric oncologist and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital, will oversee the center’s work.

“We are thrilled to continue and expand on Four Diamonds’ pursuit to find a cure for all pediatric cancers,” Vyas said in the release. “We believe philanthropy can ultimately help accelerate the timeline for clinical research and help our investigators discover and get treatments to patients faster. Everyone benefits from a higher level of collaboration, and we are grateful to the generous donors who make this life-saving work possible.”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Wayneboro, WellSpan may collaborate on emergency services campus

The Borough of Waynesboro and York-based WellSpan Health are moving toward a partnership to construct an emergency service campus across from WellSpan Waynesboro Hospital.

Wednesday, Waynesboro Borough Council approved entering into a letter of intent with WellSpan to determine whether the emergency service campus is feasible. At the meeting, it was announced that current police and fire facilities are inadequate to meet current and future departmental needs.

WellSpan owns the land, and in addition to emergency services, the campus could include medical facilities. It would also continue to be the site of WellSpan’s helipad.

“This project would be a win-win for the community,” Council President Harold Mumma said in a release. “The ability to station first responders on a campus with medical personnel would greatly enhance the level of emergency response coordination available to our residents.”

Wayneboro’s Property Committee reviewed a number of potential sites and concluded that WellSpan’s property, which currently houses the helipad and WellSpan Rehabilitation, was an ideal location.

“When first responders are dispatched, it is often for physical, mental or social health needs,” said WellSpan CEO Roxanna Gapstur. “If we can be a part of strengthening the delivery of those critical services, we further our community-oriented mission.”

Over the next 18 months, the borough and WellSpan will determine whether the concept can move forward.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

PAM Health to construct first rehab hospital in Pa.

Enola-based PAM Health announced plans Thursday to build a freestanding 42-bed physical medicine and rehabilitation hospital in Mechanicsburg, its first inpatient rehabilitation hospital in the state.

Overall, the Mechanicsburg facility will be the fourth PAM Health hospital in Pennsylvania, including long-term acute care specialty hospitals in the Wilkes-Barre, Pittsburgh and Beaver areas.

Construction of the hospital is expected to begin in early 2023, with opening projected for 2024.

“Central Pennsylvania is an ideal location for a PAM Health hospital,” Anthony Misitano, chairman, founder and CEO of PAM Health, said in a release. “We look forward to adding a hospital where our employees and their families live and work so we can provide high-quality inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation option to our friends and neighbors in the region.”

The new hospital will assist patients with traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, strokes and other neurological disorders, amputations, and other orthopedic and post-surgical conditions.

Misitano said the location, near other hospitals and “in the heart of the growing health care center of the Capitol region,” will enable PAM Health to work seamlessly with those hospitals in transitioning patients who require inpatient rehabilitation.

PAM Health provides specialty health care services through more than 70 long-term acute care hospitals and physical medicine and rehabilitation hospitals, as well as wound clinics and outpatient physical therapy locations, in 17 states.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Select Medical forming partnership to operate new hospital in Florida

Mechanicsburg-based Select Medical and ShorePoint Health Venice, a subsidiary of Community Health Systems, are forming a joint venture to operate a combined critical illness recovery (licensed as long-term care) and inpatient rehabilitation hospital in Venice, Florida.

Select Medical will be the majority owner and managing partner of the new facility, Select Specialty Hospital – Venice, which will be on the third and fourth floors of ShorePoint Health Venice.

The hospital will include 25 critical illness recovery beds, and 28 beds dedicated to inpatient rehabilitation. Renovation construction will begin this summer with an expected opening in the first quarter of next year.

“We look forward to partnering with ShorePoint Health Venice to address the growing need for specialty care among high-acuity patients in Venice and surrounding communities,” Tom Mullin, executive vice president of hospital operations at Select Medical, said in a release. “This joint venture also further expands Select Medical’s post-acute care footprint in Florida, which currently includes 12 Select Specialty critical illness recovery and two inpatient rehabilitation hospitals.”

As of March 31, Select Medical operated 105 critical illness recovery hospitals in 28 states, 30 rehabilitation hospitals in 12 states, and 1,901 outpatient rehabilitation clinics in 38 states and the District of Columbia. Its division Concentra operated 518 occupational health centers in 41 states.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer.

Ernest Health opens California rehab hospital

Mechanicsburg-based Ernest Health, a national specialty health care provider, recently opened Bakersfield Rehabilitation Hospital in Bakersfield, California.

The 50-bed, 60,000-square-foot facility will serve Kern County and the surrounding area. It treats patients recovering from or living with debilitating injuries, illnesses and chronic medical
issues, including stroke, brain and spinal cord injury, multiple traumas, neurological and musculoskeletal disorders, cardiac and pulmonary problems, amputation and other medically
complex conditions.

Bakersfield Rehabilitation Hospital – operated by Ernest Health and managed by Vibra Healthcare – is the first of three California hospitals that Ernest Health is opening; Sacramento Rehabilitation Hospital and Stockton Regional Rehabilitation Hospital are in the final stages of construction.

“We’re excited for the greater Bakersfield community to experience the world-class care that our hospitals are known for,” Brad Hollinger, CEO of Ernest Health and Vibra Healthcare, said in
a release. “We are grateful for the overwhelming support of the community and thank our partners and employees for the important work they’ve done to bring vital, life-changing
rehabilitative care to Bakersfield.”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

WellSpan’s COVID response gets statewide recognition

WellSpan York Hospital in York – HARRISON JONES

WellSpan Health was recognized by The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania for having one of the top 10 entries – out of nearly 80 – in the 2022 COVID Response Innovation Awards.

The York-based health network’s commitment to equitable access and innovative vaccination strategy with at-risk populations was selected by a panel of independent judges. It’s the third straight year WellSpan’s been honored by the association.

“WellSpan was one of the first in the Commonwealth to bring mobile vaccines to homebound patients,” Ann Kunkel, vice president of community health and engagement, said in a release.

“We brought the vaccine directly to places like Trinity House and Brindle Estates in Franklin County and Delphia House and Stonybrook in York. In fact, our protocols were shared across the commonwealth because of our important work for our neighbors.”

From February through June 2021, the number of at-risk community members scheduled for vaccine appointments and administration of the vaccine increased, resulting in 22,595 total doses administered to at‐risk community members at WellSpan vaccine clinics and mobile clinics.

Baltimore developer completes purchase of former UPMC Pinnacle Lancaster hospital 

UPMC Pinnacle Lancaster has been purchased after it was closed by UPMC in 2019. PHOTO/PROVIDED

A Baltimore-based developer has completed its purchase of the former UPMC Pinnacle Lancaster Hospital complex at 235 College Avenue in Lancaster. 

Washington Place Equities (WPE) began the transaction to buy the former hospital in May of 2019 and closed the sale with Pittsburgh-based UPMC this January, according to a press release by commercial real estate agency NAI CIR. 

UPMC closed the hospital in March 2019 after acquiring the hospital and UPMC Lititz in 2017 as part of a series of deals that brought Pittsburgh-based UPMC to Central Pennsylvania. UPMC Lititz is still in operation. 

Washington and UPMC worked with the City of Lancaster to rezone the project from Hospital Use to Mixed Use zoning on the six-acre site. 

“It has been a true collaborative effort between the city of Lancaster, UPMC and WPE leading to an exciting redevelopment project benefiting the entire community,” said Robin Zellers, NAI CIR president. 

Washington Place is partnering with Lancaster-based developer HDC MidAtlantic to redevelop the former hospital through a three-phase project expected to cost over $90 million. 

In October, HDC MidAtlantic provided an update on the project, known as the Apartments at College Avenue.  

Phase one of the project will include 48 one-bedroom apartments and 16 two-bedroom apartments. Construction is expected to begin in the coming months with phase one costing approximately $15.4 million when finished. 

Phase two, which will focus on the renovation of the Delp Wing of the St. Joseph’s Hospital’s main campus, is expected to include approximately 50 affordable apartments. HDC is the developer of all affordable housing components on the former UPMC/St. Joseph’s hospital site. 

WellSpan Health names new president of Good Samaritan 


Lebanon-based WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital’s vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer will be leading the hospital as its president starting Feb. 6. 

WellSpan Health announced this week that Patty Donley will take on the role of vice president for the health system and president of WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital. 

Donley has served as vice president of patient care service and chief nursing officer at the hospital since 2017. 

“Patty Donley brings the ideal background, experience and skills to this leadership position,” said Carrie Willetts, senior vice president of WellSpan Health’s East Region. “Having been with WellSpan for 28 years, she has a familiarity and understanding of the importance in cultivating a strong culture of engagement and pride amongst our team members that will ultimately help shape the care and experience we provide for our patients.” 

Donley will be responsible for the day-to-day operating activities and will oversee the performance improvement and patient experience initiatives of the 170-bed acute care hospital. She will also serve as the executive leader for WellSpan’s system of care in Lebanon County.  

“Good Samaritan has been the health care provider for Lebanon County for more than 130 years and I believe that deeply rooted community connection is extremely important,” Donley said. “I’m looking forward in continuing to serve this great community in a new capacity and also work to ensure we create a truly exceptional patient experiences for all who come through our doors.” 

Donley succeeds Tom Harlow as president of the hospital, who retires this month. 

Central Penn launches surgical technician program 

Central Penn College’s new short-term Surgical Technician Diploma Program that will prepare students for the sought-after healthcare paraprofessional role is set to begin in spring 2022. 

The 18-month, 42-credit course will be offered in an in-person format at the college’s Summerdale campus.  

“Surgical technicians are key team members in the operating room,” said Anne Bizup, dean of the School of Health Sciences at Central Penn College. “They perform a variety of activities that assist doctors during surgery, including sterilizing and setting up equipment, positioning patients for procedures, handing instruments to doctors during surgery, and preparing operating rooms for patients.” 

The new program comes at a time when jobs in the surgical technician field are projected to grow 9% by 2030, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

“The healthcare profession is always in need of dedicated individuals who have a passion for patient care,” said Bizup. “If you’re looking for a career where you can make a difference, becoming a surgical technician is a great choice.” 

The program is planned to begin on April 4. 

Tower Health announces strategic alliance with Penn Medicine


Reading-based Tower Health is entering into a strategic alliance with Penn Medicine. PHOTO/FILE

Reading-based Tower Health announced today that it is forming a strategic alliance with Philadelphia-based Penn Medicine.

The health network said that the agreement is not a merger or acquisition and it will continue to operate as a separate organization.

Instead, it said it is “a relationship between separate organizations focused on the joint development of innovative programs and initiatives.”

Penn Medicine formed a similar relationship with Lancaster County-based Lancaster General Health, now Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, in 2015.

Tower Health’s board of directors has signed a letter of intent to begin the process of developing an alignment model with Penn Medicine.

At the same time Tower Health said it will continue its work to improve its clinical and financial operations.

Tom Work, chair of Tower Health’s board of directors, said the hospital has been working since March to make operational improvements and has made strides in its financial turnaround efforts as patient volumes return to pre-pandemic levels.

He said the alliance will help in those efforts.

“Among our criteria for considering a strategic alliance as one possible path forward, the Board wanted to find a compatible health system that shares our patient-focused values and represents an opportunity to not only stabilize, but strengthen the care we deliver,” he said. “Penn Medicine is one of the premier healthcare systems in the country, embodying all of the key attributes we were looking for in a strategic affiliation. We are excited to work together to finalize the terms of our alliance.”

Tower and Penn Medicine will now establish an affiliation steering committee that will take approximately six months to evaluate potential areas of collaboration.